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Special Restraints

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Speculum Examinations

For any thorough examination of a cow's mouth one should use a speculum and have a good strong light. The speculum with its two arms together is slid into the mouth and then fastened by a strap around the neck. It may be opened to the desired width by a ratchet on the side.

This speculum has a wide space between its arms so that even the corners of the mouth can be seen easily and the teeth can be approached from any direction.

Some veterinarians have an assistant hold the cow's nose with a nose lead. The veterinarian then puts his hand in the cow's mouth, turning the hand so that the broad part of it forces the mouth open and holds down the tongue. One hand then is free to work. This method is very dangerous and should only be used on gentle dairy cows, if at all.


To hold the mouth open in a case of bloat or to pass a stomach tube, a Colorado Gag may be used. The wooden block is placed in the mouth and the strap fastened behind the horns.

Halter Tie

This is a good knot for fastening halter ropes as it is easily untied.

As in the slip knot, pass the rope over the hook from the left to right and make a loop in the end and place it over the standing part.

Pass the end behind both the standing part and the loop, and push a bight in the end up through the loop. Notice that the difference between this knot and the slip knot is that here a bight is passed through the loop rather than the free end of the rope.

Pull the bight to tighten the knot.

An animal may pull the free end and untie himself. To prevent this pass the end through the bight.

Tail Rope

The purpose of this restraint is to keep the cow's tail out of the way when a placenta is being removed or the udder is being treated.

Tail Tie

The tail tie, a method of securely tying a rope to a horse's tail, has many applications. Much of a horse's weight may be raiesed or moved by a tail rope, but it should never be used on a cow except to hold her tail out of its normal position. A cow's weight, or a part of it, should never be lifted by her tail. ON neither a horse nor a cow should the end of a tail rope ever be tied to a fixed object.

With the longer piece on the right, hold a rope over the tail just at the end of the last coccygeal vertebra.


1. Fold the rest of the tail upward over the rope.

2. Pass the end of the rope behind the tail and make a bight in it.

3. Bring the bight over the folded tail.

4. Pull it tight through the rope which is looped around the tail.

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